Skip to main content

Full text of "My country and my people"

See other formats

THE    ART   OF   LIVING                   325
and after the shaking on the way still retain its keenness?" So Wenshui said, "I shan't try to deceive you any longer. When I take Huich'uan water, I dig a wll, and wait at night until the new current comes, and then take it up. I put a lot of mountain rocks at the bottom of the jar, and during the voyage I permit only sailing with the wind, but no rowing. Hence the water still keeps its edge. This water is therefore better even than ordinary Huich'uan water, not to speak of water from other springs." Again he said, "Marvellous! Marvellous!" and before he had finished his sentence, he went out again. Soon he came back with another pot, and asked me to taste it. I said, "Its fragrance is strong, and its flavour is very mild. This must be spring tea, while the one we just had must be autumn tea." Then Wenshui burst into laughter and said, "I am a man of seventy, and yet have never met a tea connoisseur like you." After that, we remained fast friends.
That art is now almost gone, except among a few old art-lovers and connoisseurs. It used to be very difficult to get good tea on the Chinese national railways, even in. the first-class carriages, where Lipton's tea, probably the most unpalatable to my taste, was served with milk and sugar. When Lord Lytton visited Shanghai he was entertained at the home of a prominent rich Chinese. He asked for a cup of Chinese tea, and he could not get it. He was served Lipton's, with milk and sugar.
But enough has been said to show that the Chinese, in their moments of sanity, know essentially how to live. The art of living is with them a second instinct and a religion. Whoever said that the Chinese civilization is a spiritual civilization is a liar.
In the general survey of Chinese art and Chinese life, the conviction must have been forced upon us that the Chinese are past masters in the art of living. There is a certain wholehearted concentration on the material life, a certain zest in